with Craigslist that are different from any other website.
“It’s just like any other ad anywhere else,” says Art Garwin, deputy director of the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility. “You can’t put
up anything that’s false or misleading.”
“It’s not the media that’s the concern, it’s the message,” agrees Will
Hornsby, staff counsel in the ABA’s Division for Legal Services. “The rules
are the rules, and lawyers have the obligation to comply.” ■
COUNTDOWN TO SAVINGS
Technology audits can pay off big-time
By Dennis Kennedy
WHILE THE TERM AUDIT
often draws the same
reaction as root canal,
a technology audit
can do much for lawyers. Especially in tough times,
even a simple technology audit
can pay big dividends.
The premise of an audit is a
simple one: How can you know
where you are going if you don’t
know where you are? Today, cost
savings have become a huge concern. And you cannot make good
budget, spending and cost-cutting
decisions without knowing the
How well do you or the deci-sion-makers at your firm know
what technology you already have and use or don’t use?
There are many kinds of audits with varying levels of detail. You can use
internal resources to conduct the audit or hire a consultant. You can use an
audit to get a quick overview or to get an in-depth snapshot of your current
technology or particular aspects. There are also voluntary audits and not-so-voluntary audits, such as when a vendor or the Business Software Alliance comes to you for verification that you have licenses for all of your
software. An audit might also serve a specific purpose, such as to identify
duplication, investigate possible theft, enforce compliance with usage policies or determine ways people are using the Internet or collaboration tools.
And any of these can affect your firm’s bottom line.
A great first step is to determine exactly what you want to learn from
your audit; begin with the end in mind. If your concern is software compliance, your focus will be different than if your concern is managing your
backup media. I also like to ask what kind of report is expected at the end
of the audit, who will see it and what will be done with it.
wants to do an audit on their own
computer and software. It runs on
your machine and gives you a handy
printout of the hardware configuration and all software installed.
In a network setting, there are
several diagnostic tools, one or
more of which is probably installed
as part of your network, such as
Microsoft System Center Essentials.
Running one or more of these tools
is a good first step.
Some firms leave it to the information technology director or an
IT consultant to run an audit. If
your firm is large enough to have a
technology committee, it makes
sense to have committee members
At the end of the audit, you will
want a written report that helps
you understand what your system
is composed of in a reasonable degree of detail.
The next step is to turn the report into action. If you do a technology audit and it doesn’t get read
by your technology committee,
management committee and the
ultimate technology decision-maker, you are wasting your time.
Technology audits can serve as a
• Standardize hardware and software configurations and versions.
• Avoid duplication and identify
unused or obsolete programs.
• Show opportunities to save
money from using volume licensing or other discounts.
• Get your firm into compliance
on software licenses.
• Replace aging computers and
reveal potential theft or misuse of
• Create a factual, rather than anecdotal, basis for future technology
Technology audits are essential
for making good technology decisions. In these times, and even in
good times, regular technology audits should be near the top of your
technology to-do list. ■
LOW-COST/NO-COST HELP AVAILABLE
PERFORMING A TECHNOLOGY AUDIT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, BUT IT IS HARD,
painstaking and often frustrating work when done right. It’s a matter of
finding, counting and tracking. There are tools that can help.
I recommend the Belarc Advisor (free at belarc.com) for anyone who
Dennis Kennedy is a legal technology
writer and information technology lawyer. His website, DennisKennedy.com, is
the home of his blog.